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Mite bite outbreak in the four states - KOAM TV 7

Mite bite outbreak in the four states

Updated:
CRAWFORD COUNTY, KANSAS -

Crawford county was the first place itch mites broke out in 2004, and, they're back again this year. Fifteen counties throughout Kansas and Missouri have been hit.

"We had the environment for them to grow this year, we had the cooler weather, we had the moisture, just like we had in 2004, so we think that's a key factor in their resurgence," Crawford County Health officer Janis Goedeke said.

The mites may disguise themselves as other ailments like bed bugs, and some kids are being told to stay home in case they're chicken pox.

"I thought they were fleas from like the animal shelter because I go there and play with the dogs and cats," Dillon Stiles of Pittsburg said. 

"At first I was afraid they were bed bugs. I know my parents had been here during family day and heckling me to wash my sheets," Carson Scott, Stiles' roommate chimed in.

The health department says rest assured, they are likely neither.

"These little bugs you cannot see and you can't feel them bite you, and you might wake up with bites all over you and you might get the impression you have bed bugs. And that's certainly probably not the case," Goedeke said.

The bites are small in size and range from a light pink to a red color. They fall from pin oak trees.

"It's just like an itchy bump with a nasty thing in the middle. They don't really hurt they're just more irritating than anything and distracting," Scott said.

"I just woke up and then I had a few here, and the longer I was awake, the more I started to itch. Five minutes after I woke up or so, I got itchy," Stiles said.

They will die off after the first frost. Until then, close the windows to your house and do not hang your clothes on a clothesline outdoors.

"Bug repellant does not seem to work well for them, you cannot spray your trees because they're in the gall so spraying for them is not effective. So the only relief you can have is maybe an oral anti-histamine that's over the counter, or some anti-itch cream that you'll find over the counter as well," Goedeke said.

he last outbreak in 2004, area drugstores ran out of cortisone cream and Benadryl. Goedeke says above all, do not rake your leaves this fall or it will stir them up more. 

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